Melanie Mackay* was 13 when she made a complaint about her social worker. This was some years ago, and she was one of the first young people to use our complaints procedure on her own, without the involvement of a parent.
We found (and funded) an independent advocate for Mel, but apart from that we didn’t really know how best to deal with her complaint. She was an articulate young woman so we dealt with her complaint in the same way as one from an adult. This turned out to be the best thing we could have done.
Since Mel’s case, we have dealt with an increasing number of complaints from children and young people themselves, mostly teenagers but some younger. We have talked with and listened to them all, and these are some of the things they have told us they found helpful.
* Not her real name
Sarah Baalham is customer care manager, Suffolk Council